PITTSBURGH -- The football math that Todd Haley learned from the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach who gave him his NFL start goes like this: 100 rushing or receiving yards equals a touchdown.
That measure is one reason Haley was eminently happy -- though not satisfied -- with Le'Veon Bell's production in the season opener. Bell rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown and also caught six passes for 88 yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 30-27 win over the Browns.
“So he had almost 14 points,” said Haley, the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. “He’s a lot further ahead from where he was [last season]. He’s not there yet. Now he has to show that he can go out and do it on a week in and week out basis.”
What bodes well for the Steelers’ offense is Bell has done just that since missing the first three games of his rookie season with a sprained foot.
Since the fourth week of the 2013 season, Bell ranks fifth among NFL running backs with 1,456 yards from scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“He’s far ahead of his time right now,” Steelers fullback Will Johnson said of Bell.
The Steelers loved Bell coming out of Michigan State because he was a complete back. They have to be thrilled with how he ran the ball against the Browns.
Bell gained 61 of his 109 yards after initial contact, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and he has averaged 107.7 rushing yards in his last three games dating back to last season.
“There’s a target on his back because he has the skill set to do a lot of things for us and be a terrific weapon, both running, protecting and as a pass receiver,” Haley said. “I think there is still more out there for him and more to get out of him just from a developmental stage.”